Edelstein reproaches EU Parliament for veiled anti-Semitism
Speaking at event marking International Holocaust Remembrance Day, Knesset speaker Edelstein reproaches members of European Parliament for double-faced anti-Semitic policies; Edelstein says visits to Holocaust-denying Iran, legitimacy afforded to Hamas are not congruent with denouncing anti-Semitism.
Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein spoke Wednesday at the European Parliament in Brussels at an event marking International Holocaust Remembrance Day, claiming that European countries have not yet learned from the event that took place 70 years ago.
Edelstein began by criticizing members of parliament who participated in a recent delegation to Iran in light of its leaders' incessant denial of the Holocaust.
"I do not know who made the trip, what plans were made or what meetings were held. But I'm sure ... that during that visit no one protested the international cartoon contest taking place in Tehran for the best caricature denying the Holocaust."
Edelstein then presented an anti-Semitic caricature to parliament that purported to show the Jewish people exploiting the Holocaust for financial gain at the expense of the world and noted that the "wonderful piece of art" won first place and $ 50,000 in prize money.
"For 'never again' to really mean never again, consistent and sincere actions are necessary. Anti-Semitism, wherever it rears its ugly head and for whatever reason, is wrong and must be fought at every turn. Writing off such acts as 'mere opposition to Israel' is absurd," he stressed. "Anti-Semitism has no excuse—not religion, not poverty, not lack of education and not political disagreements.
"Today we know that we ignore hatred and intolerance at our peril."
Edelstein also noted several anti-Semitic incidents that took place over the past year, among them documented cases of assault against Jews, desecration of Jewish cemeteries and firebombing of Jewish establishments.
"These incidents did not take place in 1933. These are cases from last year, 2017," he lamented. What difference do all the monuments to the Jewish communities make if synagogues in Europe still need to be guarded around the clock? If Jews are afraid to walk around with Star of David chains because they are afraid of being attacked?"
Edelstein then wondered aloud why members of parliament fail to denounce Holocaust deniers, or why they conduct themselves in a double-faced manner by showing sympathy both towards the Jewish community and those who depreciate Jewish lives.
"Leaders embrace the rabbi of the local Jewish community in sympathy after a hate crime, but at the same time they treat Hamas as a legitimate voice in the discourse?" Edelstein said in astonishment.
"These conflicting messages do not build trust. Instead, they prevent us from fulfilling our common commitments."